Join the Connect Community ‘Walking in Their Shoes’ programme

Apply to join the Connect Community ‘Walking in their shoes’ programme – a peer-to-peer exchange programme to build trusting connections and develop system leaders across our health and care system. Applications close 11.59pm, Thursday 30th November.

If you are passionate about the potential to build a more connected health and care system, and would value the opportunity to gain experience of cross-boundary working, and to reflect on and develop your leadership practice, the Walking in Their Shoes programme is for you. It is open to anyone from organisations that contribute to health and care in south east London, regardless of role.

This is a uniquely flexible learning opportunity, to connect with a like-minded peer from another sector or profession experiencing a common challenge from a different perspective. Participants can expect to develop a deeper understanding of our health and care system and to deepen their system leadership practice.

How to apply

Fill in this short form outlining which common system challenges you’d be interested in connecting over. Based on this we will undertake a matching process to ensure a ‘good fit’ between applicants with shared areas of interest.

Applications close 11.59pm, Thursday 30th November.

What is the 'Walking in their shoes' programme?

‘Walking in their shoes’ is an peer-to-peer exchange programme within the Connect South East London System Leaders Community. Participants will be matched with another community member from a different sector or profession based on shared interests. Each pair will then commit to spending a minimum of a day walking in one another’s shoes over a 6 month period.

The programme is designed to be flexible and to suit individual needs and learning objectives. Exchange activities to date have included: on-the-job shadowing, meeting your exchange partner’s colleagues or front-line staff, attending work meetings, paired conversations, attending events/conferences together.

Anyone that contributes to health and care in south east London is able to participate, regardless of role or experience.

The aim of the programme is to encourage cross-boundary collaboration and to provide an opportunity for system leaders to reflect on and develop their leadership practice.

Why join the 'Walking in their shoes' programme?

The ‘Walking in their shoes’ programme offers many benefits:

  • Space to reflect on what it means to be a system leader
  • An opportunity to enhance your awareness of another organisation and sector, developing an understanding of their challenges, business planning processes and governance
  • An independent and confidential ‘sounding board’ to exchange and challenge ideas and explore innovative ways of working that both motivate and inspire you
  • A fresh perspective on your own role, improving leadership skill capacity
  • A chance to gain some mutual informal mentoring
  • The ability to share best practice and encourage collaborative working
  • Development of a new relationship with a cross-sector or profession colleague, gaining essential connections and future networking opportunities

What participants say

I have found making the time to “step back” and openly share ideas and thoughts, without judgement (self or other), enriching. Helps me sort out my own views and highlights that there are common issues that we are grappling with.

My partner visited our primary care network service and spoke to the team members who have been running this service successfully. My partner learnt how to engage his Primary care network clinical directors in order to work collaboratively with public health. Our team will be visiting the partner project in August.

You can find more information by reading our FAQs below.


Is there a limit to the number of participants for each programme/cohort?

There is no limit to the number of participants.

How will the community want participants to feedback experiences?

At the end of the programme, there will be opportunities to share your learnings and experience on the Connect community website. We will also ask all participants to complete a short evaluation form so we can improve the programme for the next cohort.

Does it matter if your professional life changes during the exchange?

 The ‘Walking in their shoes’ programme is flexible and values participants based on their perspective and experience, so it is not a problem if your professional life changes during the exchange. However, you and your partner would need to reconsider any planned exchange activities that might be affected by this change.

Could you explain how it might work if you are still mostly working remotely?

You can still take part in the ‘Walking in their shoes’ programme if you are working remotely. You and your partner can decide which exchange activities would be most accessible to you, such as joining virtual meetings or conferences.

Will people with lived experience be included in this programme?

The ‘Walking in their shoes’ programme focuses on bringing together systems leaders who work in the health and care sector rather than those they serve. However, past Walking in Their Shoes exchanges have provided an opportunity for those primarily involved in planning care to learn from those who work directly with the community.

Is the programme genuinely open for all health leaders including those from Voluntary, community or social enterprise organisation? Is it limited to the public sector?

Anyone that contributes to health and care in south east London is able to participate, regardless of role or experience. It is not limited to a particular sector and we hope to involve participants with a wide range of professional backgrounds.

Is the programme for people who already have a particular experience in a particular service or those who want to gain experience in what they are doing at the moment?

When matching participants, we consider both what you can bring and what you hope to gain from the exchange. The aim of the programme is specifically to develop connections between and the capability of systems leaders, but it offers a valuable opportunity to gain both skills and knowledge from a colleague in another sector or service.